Youth tennis stars battle for Copa del Café title
The world’s top youth tennis players competed in the semifinals and finals of the Copa del Café this weekend at the Costa Rica Country Club in Escazú, west of San José. The 47th edition of the week-long tournament featured a total of 146 young stars from 51 countries.
Through the first four days of the tournament, most of the top-seeded players from the boys and girls sides had found their way into the quarterfinal round, which was played Thursday.
On the girls’ side, returning champion An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium cruised through the first three rounds, beating U.S. player Gabrielle Desimone on Wednesday in straight sets. Mestach won the singles and doubles titles at the Copa del Café in 2010.
In perhaps the most intriguing match-up of the girls’ singles competition, Mestach played fifth-seeded Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands on Thursday (results not available by press time). Mestach and Schuurs are doubles partners and were the winners of the 2010 Copa del Café doubles competition. The duo was eliminated from the second round of the doubles competition Wednesday.
On the boys’ side, five of the tournament’s top 10 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals, led by top-seeded Hugo Dellien of Bolivia and second-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo of the United States. Both are ranked in the top 50 of the world’s youth tennis circuit.
The lone Costa Rican to win a match was José Pablo Gil, who beat Luke Jacob Gamble of the U.S. in straight sets in the first round on Monday. Gil lost to 13th-seeded Wilfredo Gonzalez of Guatemala on Tuesday.
The Copa del Café has a storied tradition of hosting young talents that go on to be big-time professional stars. The tournament touts an impressive list of alumni, including tennis greats Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, 2009 U.S. Open winner Juan Martín del Potro and current giant Roger Federer. On the women’s side, stars such as Amanda Coetzer and Jana Novotna competed in the Copa del Café before moving on to successful professional careers.
The cost of admission to the Copa del Café for the semifinals and finals ₡4,500-8,000 depending on seating. For more information, visit www.copacafe.com.
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